The mvet is a stringed musical instrument, the harp-lute[citation needed] (or stick zither, Hornbostel-Sachs (311)) of the Fang people of Gabon, Cameroon, São Tomé and Equatorial Guinea. Somewhat resembling the Mande kora, but larger and simpler, it consists of a tubular stick of palm-raffia or bamboo, between one and two metres long, with usually three calabash resonators. A central vertical bridge divides four or five gut or metal strings, played both sides of the bridge.

A short mvet with four strings and a single central resonator

The instrument is held horizontally on the chest to close or open the central resonator with a movement of the arms. It may be played solo or may accompany song or poetry that includes epics, battle-songs, ritual, philosophy and knowledge of the world.

In the late twentieth century the mvet became a key instrument of bikutsi music.


  • Biyogo, Grégoire (2002). Encyclopédie du Mvett. Paris Libreville: Editions du CIREF Editions de l'ICAD (Institut Cheikh Anta Diop. ISBN 2913983553.
  • Ndoutoume, Tsira (1993). Le Mvett : l'homme, la mort et l'immortalite. Paris: L'Harmattan. ISBN 2-7384-1558-X.
  • Boyer, Pascal (1988). Barricades mystérieuses & pièges à pensée : introduction à l'analyse des épopées fang. Paris: Société d'ethnologie. ISBN 978-2-901161-31-8.
  • Alexandre, Pierre (1974). "Introduction to a Fang oral art genre: Gabon and Cameroon mvet". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 37 (01): 1. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00094799. ISSN 0041-977X.

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